Sharing our diversity stories

CUPAOur MnSCU HR professionals belong to an organization called CUPA-HR (College and University Personnel Association). Over the years I’ve benefited from many of their workshops, which often include an emphasis on hiring and retaining a diverse faculty and staff.

Just in time for our blog topic this month, CUPA-HR has released a new website based on a project called Creating Inclusive Communities. It features a series of diversity stories to help us think about the higher ed workplace. The site provides resources including videos with discussion starters and facilitator guides to make it easy to bring these conversations to local staff meetings or leadership team events. Some of the topics include:

  • Microaggressions
  • Immigrant Employees
  • Raising Young Black Men
  • Women in Leadership Roles
  • Challenges of the Deaf

I’ve found that other people’s stories can have a profound impact on how I view the world. As I mentioned on Friday, I just returned from a volunteer project in the Philippines. The team included both Americans and Filipinos, many of whom have worked together in the past. On the last night we spent some time debriefing the trip and sharing memories. I reminded them of the first time we worked with Shirley, one of the local leaders. She told me that she was uncomfortable giving work direction to Americans. Over time, we talked honestly about our fears and expectations and developed shared stories. Now she is much more willing to tell us what she wants us to do!

The creators of the CUPA-HR website believe that sharing our stories of diversity and inclusion can enrich a campus community and move institutions along the path to greater cultural understanding and competence. How have you used stories about diversity and inclusion when leading in our higher education workplace?

Dee Anne Bonebright




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